A group of swimmers who trained for three weeks at altitude and another that stayed at sea level were compared. The altitude group returned to sea level for a three-week taper period and then competed in important meets.
There were no differences in the performances or economy profiles of either group after the taper. This implies that there is no advantage to training at altitude over training at sea level for the length of time of this study. It was suggested that altitude training might prove beneficial if it was done for an extended period, such as six months.
The endurance capacities of the groups remained relatively unchanged over the study period. However, the anaerobic capacity of the altitude group increased markedly. During the first two weeks of adaptation, a greater anaerobic activation occurred at all swimming speeds.
The length of time of increased anaerobic work was at least 12 days. It was not until the 16th day that normal training could be resumed.
Implications. Short periods of altitude training produce no benefit for sea level performance.
[The value of altitude training for improving sea level performance is not clear. For every study that shows a benefit, there is another that contradicts it. Since performances and the energy systems which fuel them are extremely specific in adaptation, it would seem that it is still obvious to train specifically for an event in the conditions under which the event will be swum.
Simply put, this study showed:
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